Don’t Send your Kids to Ivy League
K-12 Education is the right of every citizen. The liberal arts education is a high quality education for the public, financed by the public. There is no need for anyone to strive to get admission in Ivy League or any other expensive private institutions that make high claims to education. The reality is that they treat students as customers. They produce career ready individuals. They are super youngsters, and always prepared to appear for an interview. I am referring to the entire system of elite education in prestigious institutions that is common among the upper middle-class children like me. I was in darkness regarding my own education. I did not clearly understand the objectives. It was only after working for 35 years that I got an insight into the problems with the system of education.
The kids cannot afford to take the risk of failing. They never commit errors. The existing system of education is rigidly bound to a curriculum. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, the students are satisfied with what they get. In an attempt to become leaders they have lost sight of entire fields like the clergy or military. The private institutions are expensive where only the rich and elite can manage to get admission. They talk about equality and foster social, economic, gender as well as racial discrimination.
As part of the Yale Admissions Committee, I experienced the process of admission. The children of rich donors and genuine high achievers were the first preferences. We looked for real spark, but did not find any. The candidates presented heavy resumes showing long lists of extra achievements besides academics. The weight of the resumes signified the huge amounts spent on preparing them. The poor seldom get a chance in prestigious institutions.
Learning should teach children to think and to become aware of the ‘self’. College level is the best period; otherwise, it may be too late. I was obsessed with this issue for a long time as I witnessed the commercialization of educational institutions with sorrow. However, after considering the waste of time, money and efforts spent on education in elite private intuitions, I have come to the conclusion that there is no need to strive for admission to Ivy League or any other private school. They only stuff the children with information. There is no learning in the real sense. There is no value addition or transformation in the characters of the children. Real teaching and subjects like Humanities are still valued in the liberal arts colleges. In Harvard and Ivy League, the children of the rich learn how to walk and talk like the rich. This is an irony. It is also ironical that obscure religious colleges give better education than the so-called elite schools. These religious colleges do not set a very high standard on scores while selecting students. They deliver a higher quality of education than the private colleges.
Elite schools boast that they teach their children to think. Their concept of thinking is limited to the ability to tabulate, organize and analyze content. Students are grilled in the process of education trying to master skills that are of no practical use to them. Students who really seek knowledge find the outlined educational system stifling. It offers no freedom of thought or spirit. The worst part is the process of admission which is like fearful dragon at the gateway. The gate to education ought to be open for all. It should welcome those who thirst for knowledge and not ward them off in a fearful guise.
The best option is to go for liberal arts education in public schools. It is time to follow the democratic method while giving admissions to students in schools or in higher education institutes.